We begin the second installment of our BS with a brief introduction to how web sites work. In order for you to view a web page in your browser, the web page file needs to be stored on a computer server that's connected to the internet every hour of every day. Servers, and the software on them, make it possible for someone in, say, Paris, to type an address (URL) into their browser and have the browser display the exact web page file that is stored on a server in Memphis. For us average people it's pretty much magic, and that's all we care about.
There are lots of blogging services that provide hosting along with their service. How convenient! There are some advantages and disadvantages to setting up a hosted blog, and next week we’ll discuss your other option, which is to set up your own domain name and hosting and host the blog yourself. So stay tuned if you’re keen on flying solo.
The blogging service hosts your blog. What are the pros and cons?
- You can get started right away.
- You don't need to arrange for your own web hosting, and you don't need to install any blogging software onto the server.
- Generally speaking, hosted blogging services pay a lot of attention to usability, so they’re pretty user-friendly.
- If it's a free service you may be required to display ads on your blog.
- Your blog won't be hosted at your own domain (as in www.myblog.com), but rather on the blogging service's domain (as in www.myblog.bloggingservice.com).
- If you want to change blogging programs down the line, you'll have to change the address of your blog, and you may not be able to transfer your old posts to your new blog.
- The service may or may not allow you to host images on their servers, which means you may not be able to show photos on your blog unless you use a separate photo hosting service
You get some web hosting of your own, and host your blog yourself. What are the pros and cons?
- Your blog will be hosted on your own domain.
- You can host images yourself.
- You can change blog programs at your whim, and should be able to migrate your old posts to the new blog. Regardless, you won't ever have to change the address of your blog.
- You can install plugins and other fun goodies to your heart's content and use your blogging software without limitations.
- If you already have a web site for your personal or business use, you can integrate your blog into it seamlessly. And since we’re crocheters, we like invisible seams, don’t we?
- You'll have to pay for your domain name registration and for hosting.
- You'll need to be comfortable installing blogging software onto the server space you got, or you’ll have to enlist help. This isn't too hard, but you'll need to take a deep breath and just jump in to do it. If you're very squeamish about this kinda thing, you should avoid this option.
For now, let’s consider your options for setting up a hosted blog.
Most blog hosting services are free. Among the most popular are Blogger, LiveJournal, Blog Drive, and Xanga (especially with the teenage set). TypePad is a paid service that offers many features and does not display ads. Check these sites out, and read about the features each service offers. Put some thought into your decision because, as we mentioned above, it's terribly inconvenient to switch providers later on.
Whamo! Instant gratification. Once you've made your choice and signed up, you're good to go. Read through the documentation provided and poke around your new blog home. Now start making a list of all the crochet you want to write about. And drop us a comment with the URL of your new blog so we can pop in and say hi!
There won't be a BS post next week because I'll be on holiday in Europe. Yes, I am terribly excited. And yes, I plan to go into every yarn store I come across. (Any recommendations in The Netherlands or Belgium?) So look for Part II of Blog Hosting on May 23rd, when we'll discuss hosting a blog on your own server space. OH! And we'll be announcing a really amazing crochet blog thing. It'll be worth the wait.